Paparazzi are resorting to increasingly aggressive and dangerous tactics to photograph Prince George, Kensington Palace said in a letter urging media organizations to reject unauthorized photos of the royal toddler and his baby sister, Charlotte.
Among other methods, photographers recently have hidden in car trunks and used other children to draw Prince George into view on playgrounds, Palace communications secretary Jason Knauf said in the letter.
“It is clear that while paparazzi are always keen to capture images of any senior member of the royal family, Prince George is currently their number one target,” he said, hoping his statement will encourage a public discussion about the use of unauthorized photographs of children.
“A line has been crossed and any further escalation in tactics would represent a very real security risk,” he said.
Knauf noted that paparazzi have created a “heightened security environment” for Prince William and Duchess Kate.
"The worry is that it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm," he said.
Prince William and Duchess Kate want to provide a childhood for their children "that is free from harassment and surveillance" and acknowledge they are fortunate to have private homes shielded from photographers.
"But they feel strongly that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte should not grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens. They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed," Knauf said. "In addition, the privacy of those other children and their families must also be preserved."
The royal couple has been fiercely protective of their children's privacy, selectively releasing images of them on special occasions. However, that has raised incentive for paparazzi to capture Prince George during more casual moments.
"Every parent would understand their deep unease at only learning they had been followed and watched days later when photographs emerged," Knauf said.
The royal family hopes that by encouraging a global discussion about the harmful impact of using unauthorized photos, the public will "understand the power they hold to starve this disturbing activity of funding" he said.
"The Duke and Duchess are determined to keep the issues around a small number of paparazzi photographers distinct and separate from the positive work of most newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, and web publishers around the world," he said.